Government taxes smokers and coffee drinkers

THE 2006 state budget will hit Portuguese smokers hard in the pocket, while beverages will also cost more.

Tax hikes on cigarettes will mean that an extra 109.50 euros per annum will be added to this traditional soft vice for the average consumer.

So, if you are a smoker, in 2006 you’ll need to know that your pack of Marlboro, normally costing 2.55 euros, will be 30 cents dearer or 2.85 euros (nine euros more a month) which, multiplied by 12, adds up to 109.50 euros a year for the country’s 1.5 million smokers.

But, even if you don’t smoke, don’t think you’ll be let off the hook by drinking beer. Up by a euro, beer will cost you 30 euros more a month if you only have one a day, although along with cigarettes, the price can vary from establishment to establishment.

Even coffee is set to go up from around 55 cents to 80 cents, which means that if you drink two cups of coffee a day, you’ll pay 511 euros a year for the pleasure, as against 401 euros per year at present.

Just add it up and you’ll see that the average expenses on these small day-to-day trifles will burn up 12.5 per cent of the average 900 euros national salary.

A coffee drinking smoker would now end up forking out 1,177 euros a year, which could easily exceed 1,500/2,000 euros for thirsty beer drinkers spending around two euros for a beer.

And, if you earn the national minimum salary of 374.70 euros a month, it represents 30 per cent of your total income.